Fried mackerel burgers: Perfect for feeding a crowd while camping

Cooking fish over a fire can be difficult, Matt Williamson tells Prudence Wade. That’s why this recipe, where the other ingredients are pre-prepared, is one of his favourites

Thursday 29 July 2021 11:02
<p>It’s easy to dial up this recipe for more hungry campers</p>

It’s easy to dial up this recipe for more hungry campers

Matt Williamson – one of the chefs behind the new Camper Van Cooking cookbook – admits: “Cooking fish over a fire can be a little bit difficult, because you want the temperature to be just right.”

That’s why he particularly likes this recipe when camping – all the other ingredients are ready to go, so you can “just concentrate” on getting the fish right.

“We could feed a real crowd with that,” Williamson adds. “This is one that you can dial up and easily do for four people or eight people, if you can get hold of all the fish and stuff. It’s quite an easy one to put together.”

Fried mackerel with horseradish butter, gherkins and lettuce in brioche buns

Makes: 4 servings


4 tbsp butter, softened

2-4 tbsp horseradish, to taste

4 large or 8 small mackerel fillets

1 soft round lettuce, leaves separated

4 large gherkins, sliced

Salt and black pepper

4 brioche buns (or any soft roll), split open, to serve


1. Beat the butter and horseradish together in a bowl, adding pepper to taste, then put the mixture to one side.

2. Season the mackerel fillets on both sides and grill them over a high heat, skin-side down, for two minutes. Carefully flip the fillets over with a spatula and cook for another one minute, until just cooked through (cook in a pan with a splash of cooking oil, if you prefer).

3. Lightly toast the inside of the rolls on the grill, then generously spread each with the horseradish butter. Add lettuce and gherkins to each bun, then finally the cooked mackerel, sandwiching shut to serve.

Recipe extracted from ‘Camper Van Cooking’ by Claire Thomson and Matt Williamson (Quadrille, £20; photography by Sam Folan).

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